When you are getting divorced, many emotions naturally run high. This is especially true if you knew your marriage was in trouble but were blindsided by your spouse filing for divorce. While it is natural to want “revenge” in this situation, it’s never a good idea. If you were suddenly served with divorce papers, it is important that you contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.
In the meantime, to keep yourself from being led by your emotions and making costly mistakes, here is what not to do when you are served with divorce papers you were not expecting yet.
Try to “Get Even” with Your Spouse
Your anger at your spouse is very understandable, and it may be compounded by their actions and behavior leading up to the divorce. However, you cannot let this type of emotion overrule your thinking, as this can cost you in court.
Spouses who are angry sometimes end up abusing the legal system via delay tactics or by making unrealistic demands in areas of the divorce such as custody or division of property. While this may seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment, in reality, it can end up increasing the price tag of your divorce, irritate the court, strain your relationships with friends and family members, and even upset your children, depending on what is happening. In the end, this approach tends to backfire, and you may find it costs you more than you ever imagined without giving you the satisfaction you believed it would.
Involve Your Children in Your Anger
Never put the children in between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse during your divorce. This can be very damaging to children emotionally, as they may feel as if they are being forced to choose between two parents they truly love. In addition, a parent who intentionally tries to manipulate a child to their “side” may find themselves on the losing end when it comes to custody. The court does not take a kind view of parents who attempt to alienate their children from their co-parent.
Attempt to Hide Assets
Being dishonest in court is never a good thing, and this is certainly true in a divorce. While you may be tempted to hide assets for a good reason–such as your spouse wasting marital assets prior to the divorce without your knowledge–the act is still fraud, and you can find yourself in some serious legal hot water if you try to do this. Instead, disclose all of your assets truthfully, and work with your attorney to address any marital asset waste by your spouse before and during the divorce.
Decide to go it Alone
People are often tempted to try to handle their divorce themselves, especially if they both agree and the case seems simple. However, a simple divorce can turn into a complex one very quickly, and you don’t want to find yourself scrambling for an attorney at the last minute because an unexpected issue pops up. Having to do this will drag your case out even longer and cost you more in the long run. Reach out to a family law attorney as soon as you decide to divorce or are served with papers, even if only to get some initial advice.
Looking back, you likely have already decided you made some mistakes in your marriage. But you don’t have to make mistakes in the divorce, especially ones that are entirely preventable. Remember to keep your emotions out of the driver’s seat when it comes to your decision making, and work with an attorney throughout your case.